Elecraft K3 S/N 003039 built

Yes, my second K3 works. It took about 8 to 10 hours of slowly building, off and on and spread over 3 days. I encountered 3 small problems:

  • Filter offset: this number is hand written on the roofing filters but I think it was a bit ambiguously written. Does it say –0.62 or –0.42? An mail to Elecraft Support with a close up picture attached confirmed –0.62. The reply came only 22 minutes after I sent the question. Twenty two minutes. And that’s not from a universal email group with thousands of members. No, it’s the company’s flesh and bones email support. Granted: I sent the message when it was EU evening so the day had just begun in California but still great support!
  • Two little screws that I didn’t find. I really overlooked those but I recalled from my first building operation that they are there. I didn’t find them then either. No need to hit the alarm button. I couldn’t remember where I found the screws 16 months ago but eventually I found them in a small envelope containing similar screws.
  • Along the way, when assembling the front panel, I discovered the knob for the RIT/XIT control is missing. I checked, double checked and before sending a note even triple checked but that knob is no where to be found. I hope I can get a knob for this soon. Luckily it’s something you can add from the outside and it wasn’t a show stopper for the building process. I just cleaned up the desk and sorted all bags and envelopes so this quadruple check did not disclose the knob either.

Just like the first K3 I built, I have to express my respect for the people who did the mechanical engineering. Everything fits together, tight fit and never a misalignment. I assume the guy(s) who thought this over must have lost some sleep over this. I’ve done some medium complex PCB designing in a previous life so I know this isn’t easy. Making a PCB for an electronic device is one thing but making it fit into a bigger whole with multiple piggy backed PCB’s that need to fit in an enclosure with connector cut outs… Great job!

I still ran an old version of the K3 Windows utility software so I was very pleased to learn that the latest version makes the calibration a lot easier. In stead of hitting buttons and going from band to band on the rig, it only took one mouse click to hit ‘Calibrate’ and there you go. PC automation put to work in ham radio! I removed the remaining TS-850 from its throne and Left Radio @ ON5ZO is now a K3 too. I reprogrammed the microHAM band decoder to work with the K3. The SO2R antenna switching works. Now I’m waiting for the MK2R+ cable to arrive. Then I can reconfigure N1MMLogger and test the keying for the three modes.

After about 9 years, the TS-850 era is now closed in ON5ZO’s shack. I really enjoyed using them and I haven’t found a rig that pleases me as much. Until I found the K3 of course. While guest op’ing I used FT-1000, TS-870 and an Orion II but never did they want me to own one. The TS-850 is one of the best rigs ever made, I’m quite sure of that. That said, there is one for sale. No antenna tuner but I did the adjustable side tone and PC+paddle modification. 250Hz IF filter installed.

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